Going Global beyond K-pop with Mu:Con 2020

This past weekend concluded Mu:Con 2020, another event, organized by Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and hosted by the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA). Here’s a quick review of the experience and topics of discussion at this year’s edition. 

MU:CON 2020 Poster from Korea Creative Content Agency

Mu:Con has been an annual event held for both music business professionals and fans alike since 2011, Whilst in previous years, Mu:Con was held on a much larger scale, with business conferences and networking sessions throughout the day, and concluding with outdoor music concerts. Despite some limitations in more proactive networking with its online setting, Mu:Con created a highly inclusive environment for more both fans and business professionals to participate in the business conferences and concerts. It bodes well for the music industry’s transparency and willingness to share compared to other years. 

This year’s theme was “Post Corona, Next Music Industry” and discussion was mostly centered around ideas and thoughts on pivoting past this pandemic era to create a better music business environment. There was also an emphasis to highlight other aspects of Korean music, beyond K-pop and the remarkable achievements of BTS worldwide, including their speech at the 75th UN General Assembly. South Korean composer, Lee Yoon Sang or better known as Yoon Sang, director for Mu:Con 2020, told the local press according to Korea JoongAng Daily the focus is to build ties with overseas buyers to help Korean musicians find a stage outside Korea, since the coronavirus has created bigger challenges for smaller indie bands. 

Here’s some of what was discussed: 

  • Anticipating the Future of the Global Music Industry in the Post-Pandemic Era

  • Social Media-Driven Music Marketing Trends - Before and After COVID-19 

  • Profit Models and Differentiation of the Live Music Market

  • MU:CON Collaboration: Creating the Next Phase of K-pop 

  • Analyzing K-pop Fandom for New Business Opportunities 

Speakers included: Jaeson Ma, Co-Founder of Triller and 88Rising, Lee Sung-Su CEO of SM Entertainment, Mark Mulligan Managing Director of MIDiA Research and more. If you’ve signed up as a delegate, but missed some of these conferences, recorded versions with English subtitles will be ready in mid October. Parts of the conference will also be reviewed on Soundboard Asia, so stay tuned. 

The music concerts, the most anticipated part of the event, was streamed lived on YouTube with an opening showcase on Wednesday (Sep 23), featuring GFriend, Teen Top, Gaho and AB6IX. The other 70 bands from a range of genres performed across 3 stages every night from Thursday (Sep 24) through Saturday (Sep 26). Notable acts included: So!YoON!, LEEBADA, Lee Minhyuk, MC SniperSe So Neon, LambC and more. The line up also included German electronic music duo,  KIDSØ, Korean-Taiwanese singer-songwriter, Shi Shi and Swedish female duo, The Magnettes

Given multiple quality acts performing at once, it was an evening of toggling between 3 screens, but the recorded performances are still available on KOCCA Music’s YouTube channel for you to catch up, discover and enjoy. Thanks to the careful curation on a platform like Mu:Con, may this be a start for these musicians to step onto a bigger global stage as we await Mu:Con's 10th year in 2021. 

Images are taken from KOCCA and screenshots from KOCCA Music's YouTube channel during the events.

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